How do you decide when to visit Southern California? Do you want to marvel at surfing dogs in September? Maybe Disney villains in October? It’s a challenge. Let’s visit the all the special fall events in spirit.
Surf City Surf Dog Competition – Huntington Beach, CA
Dogs. On. Surfboards. That’s a real thing that happens. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, ask the dishes. They can sing, they can dance, after all, this is Huntington Dog Beach (yes, a beach just for dogs). These little guys are champions and make me embarrassed for my lack of coordination and nonexistent fitness. Do the pups actually like surfing and waves crashing in their faces? I’m not sure, but they look like they’re enjoying the glory and California sun.
626 Night Market – Arcadia, CA
Once upon a summer day, the best asian specialties of all the lands come to meet my mouth. Foodies come to rejoice in 200 stalls worth of ramen-bun burgers, Kawaii creations, noodles, dumplings, and colorful fruity pebble ice cream sandwiches. My favorite tasting this year was actually an addictive lobster taco from Mu’s, complimented by a frozen japanese beer. I’ll now be stalking Mu’s at farmers markets, until next year. This event is well worth the $3, so try to catch it one weekend in July, August, and September.
L.A. County Fair – Pomona, CA
I haven’t decided if I like this popular festival yet, as it tends to be gimmicky with weird over-fried foods and the biggest/smallest animals you’ve ever seen. The musical line up is never that impressive. The L.A. Fair is an alternative to boredom but there are better festivals to eat at.
Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade – Long Beach, CA
Once a year you can take your dogs to the Marina Vista Park and go wild at the world’s largest Halloween pet event. Over 500 pets and their owners are dressed in costume and sometimes on mini floats. Don’t have a dog? You can adopt one there or just pull up a chair and be entertained by all this ridiculous cuteness.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
Mickey hands down, this is my favorite day of the year. Don’t care about my birthday, screw Christmas – I want to rage with Donald Duck at an impromptu rave at Disneyland. I’m getting old but I still take my mother trick-or-treating here and have 0 shame. Since admission is limited, the lines are also shorter, giving me the chance to ride Space Mountain multiple times. The villains are hysterical diva bitches. I’ll only allow for the evil queen to tear me a new one. I adore the creative yummy treats, how the haunted mansion transforms and the parade glows stunningly. The larger than life spooky fireworks show finale is the perfect ending to a beautiful magical night. Buy tickets early as they sell out quickly. The admission is seperate from an all day pass, as they close down for all the scaredy-cat kids to leave before evil takes over the park. MUAHAHAHA!
Halloween Horror Nights – Universal Studios, Universal City, CA
Universal Studios knows how to do special effects right, and Halloween Horror Nights can be the primetime to see this attraction if you don’t mind the long queues. Most people will only dare to step foot in the frenzy if they have expensive front of the line passes. While I respect what Universal does, these haunted houses can be overwhelming, so I’ll probably come back another time… let’s say in Spring of 2016 to see the newly built Hogwarts.
Knott’s Scary Farm – Buena Park, CA
While the rides and haunted houses may not be as top notch as Universal, the lines and admission prices are much more convenient, making this place maybe more enjoyable. I border-line enjoy walking through the fog as creepy music plays and clowns catch me off guard.
RISE of the Jack O’lanterns – Arcadia or San Diego, CA
Artists and sculptors come together to bring 5,000 pumpkins to life. You might only spend a good thirty minutes seeing all of them but the talent is incredible. I’m amazed at how the professionals are able to stack jack o’lanterns together, creating impressively tall giraffes, dinosaurs, and my favorite, Sponge Bob.The event is worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The 17th Door Haunted Experience – Tustin, CA
If you don’t scare easily or just wanting that terrified feeling in your heart, Southern California has many over the top haunted houses where they push you to the limits. Come sign a waiver at one of these places, including the 17th Door, where the scariest circumstances are brought to life. Abductions, live cockroaches – if you can fear it, they can make it happen.
The Pumpkin Patch – Redlands, CA
I love this pumpkin patch solely for the 100 varieties of pumpkins they carry. I’ve always wanted my own Cinderella pumpkin, and come to find out, you can find one here. While I’m still working on the fairy godmother, I can actually go into the patch and pick another pumpkin, go zip lining, or take a walk through their corn maze.
Southern California’s weather tends to be perfect in July and October when it’s warm but not too hot. Maybe that’s why those months seem to have such fun events. Either way, either day, chances are you’ll see a blue sky and something unique to enjoy. I often just take my keys and head to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Check Living Social, Groupon, and Travelzoo for discounted tickets and restaurant fare when planning your next visit.
I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite event you love to experience every year?
© Faith’s True Tales 2015. All original words and images by Faith Brady unless otherwise noted.